Florida Senate - 2020                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. CS for SB 682
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              

       The Committee on Judiciary (Baxley) recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Section 741.0307, Florida Statutes, is created
    6  to read:
    7         741.0307Florida Healthy Marriage Handbook.—
    8         (1)There shall be created a handbook which includes
    9  resources, information, and website links to assist in forming
   10  and maintaining a long-term marital relationship. This handbook
   11  is supplemental to the Family Law Handbook created under s.
   12  741.0306.
   13         (2)The handbook shall read substantially as follows:
   15  Introduction
   17  Congratulations! You have made the decision to get married. This
   18  decision means that you and your partner agree to enter into a
   19  formal contract. This contract outlines the conditions of your
   20  new partnership. This partnership impacts the ownership of your
   21  money and possessions and the way you relate to each other. When
   22  you talk about your marriage expectations before getting
   23  married, you begin to understand the new roles and
   24  responsibilities. This mutual understanding helps to lay a
   25  foundation that can help you build a successful, enduring
   26  marriage.
   28  The purpose of this handbook is to provide information to
   29  marriage license applicants that can help to create successful
   30  marriages. It includes topics such as learning to communicate
   31  effectively, building your team, solving problems
   32  collaboratively, and resolving conflicts. The handbook also
   33  provides general information on economic issues, raising a
   34  family, and the consequences that occur when marriages fail.
   36  Building a Marriage
   38  As you and your spouse begin your journey together, the first
   39  thing you will need to know is where you are going. Your shared
   40  destination is determined by your personal and shared values.
   41  The marriage journey will require lots of decisions from both of
   42  you. Through mutual respect, trust, honesty, and love, you will
   43  have a rewarding trip.
   45  Understanding Your Values
   47  Your values are the foundation for all of your thinking and
   48  decision-making. Every decision you make is an effort to align
   49  your actions to your values. When you marry, you will be sharing
   50  your life with another person. It is so important that you know
   51  your own values and the values of your intended spouse. Think
   52  about the values you consider sacred in your life and share this
   53  information with your partner.
   55  Discuss these issues prior to making a marriage commitment.
   56  Build upon your mutual ideals. A harmonious, lasting marriage
   57  will be built upon a foundation of shared values and the
   58  effective communication of these values.
   60  Building Your Team
   62  Marriage is a team effort. One of the definitions of the word
   63  team is “a group of persons pulling together.” Talking to each
   64  other and sharing in decisions that affect both team members is
   65  very important. Talking, listening, and valuing your partner’s
   66  ideas and contributions will make your marriage team strong and
   67  healthy.
   69  Learning Effective Communication
   71  Learning to communicate effectively requires commitment from
   72  both you and your partner. It takes time and LOTS of energy, but
   73  it is worth the effort. To commune literally means “to put in
   74  common; to share.” The goal of effective communication is to
   75  create a common understanding with your partner. This common
   76  understanding is the cement of a strong marriage. Honesty is an
   77  essential component of effective communication. However, honesty
   78  must be tempered with kindness. Good communication between both
   79  of you promotes mutual trust and respect.
   81  Successful marriages depend on good communication between both
   82  partners. Learning to be a good communicator takes patience and
   83  practice.
   85  Resolving Conflicts
   87  Another step in building a lasting marriage is learning to
   88  examine and confront issues effectively. Couples in the
   89  healthiest marriages experience conflicts. Conflicts are normal
   90  because you and your partner have different beliefs and
   91  opinions. Conflict is simply a clash between these beliefs and
   92  opinions. The cause of conflict is that you and your partner see
   93  and approach situations and events differently. Conflict results
   94  when there are opposite points of view and each person believes
   95  that their viewpoint is right and their partner’s viewpoint is
   96  wrong. The result is two different interpretations.
   98  People in conflict are seldom upset about what they think they
   99  are upset about. One event may trigger an emotional outburst.
  100  The outburst often is caused by a series of unresolved issues. A
  101  win/lose situation will not solve the problem. Resolving
  102  conflicts effectively strives to achieve a win/win solution for
  103  both of you. How can you find an answer that benefits you and
  104  your partner? The first step is for the two of you to step out
  105  of the battle and look beyond the event that created the
  106  conflict. The next step is to shift your focus to your common
  107  interests, mutual values, and positive qualities.
  109  Refocusing your own thinking helps to calm emotions. You can
  110  redirect your thinking — and your partner’s — to what you both
  111  really want: an activity or mutual goal, something more
  112  satisfying than the conflict. Couples can change their conflict
  113  experiences by changing their thoughts about the situation.
  115  Keeping the Marriage Vital
  117  When you first get married, usually everything is new and
  118  exciting. But how do you keep your marriage new and exciting
  119  year after year? You have started a lifelong journey together.
  120  This journey will have many stops along the way. Each of your
  121  destinations will bring maturity to your relationship and to
  122  each of you. Your affection for each other increases through the
  123  lessons that you learn together and the laughter and the tears
  124  that you share. It is a good journey! Couples who can laugh
  125  together under challenging circumstances and gain the
  126  understanding of true friendship keep their marriage vital.
  128  Addressing Economic Issues
  130  As you prepare for your new journey as a couple, you have
  131  several financial issues to discuss. What financial resources
  132  and obligations do you bring into your marriage? Do you have
  133  business debts? Will you combine your finances and have joint
  134  checking and savings accounts or maintain separate accounts? Who
  135  will pay the bills? Will you develop a budget together?
  137  Talking to each other about how you plan to earn, spend, and
  138  save your money is easier when you agree on priorities. Your
  139  marriage benefits from forming and sticking to a spending plan
  140  that includes discussion and agreement.
  142  Sharing Financial Responsibilities
  144  It is wise to make major financial decisions together. You both
  145  will be responsible for those decisions. If you are
  146  uncomfortable at the thought of sharing financial
  147  responsibilities with your intended spouse, you might want to
  148  seek premarital counseling to determine underlying issues and to
  149  decide if marriage is the right decision for you at this time.
  151  One of you may be better at balancing a checkbook, paying the
  152  bills, and developing a budget. As you take this marital journey
  153  with your partner, talk with each other about which one of you
  154  is best suited to do specific financial tasks. Then, after you
  155  are married, try out your new system! Adjust it if it doesn’t
  156  work well.
  158  Here are some specific financial planning tips. Decide together:
  160  If you will maintain one joint checking account or separate
  161  individual checking accounts. Who will pay the bills and
  162  maintain the checking account(s)? How often and how much
  163  personal allowance each of you should receive. What is an
  164  appropriate savings and investment plan? How you will pay for
  165  large purchases such as automobiles and major appliances.
  167  Building a Budget
  169  Building a budget helps you to know how much income you will
  170  have, how much money you will spend, and how much money will be
  171  left over. It helps you to control your spending. A budget helps
  172  you to save money!
  174  What are some steps to assist you?
  175         1.Identify your financial goals: short range (e.g., buying
  176  groceries and gasoline) and long term (e.g., buying a house,
  177  setting up a college fund for your children).
  178         2.Look at your current financial position. What is your
  179  monthly household income? What are your debts?
  180         3.Write out a monthly budget for 12 months. Write out
  181  monthly expenses in the different categories (e.g., $300 car
  182  payment, $600 rent). Estimate how much you will spend in each
  183  category.
  184         4.Compare your budget to your financial goals. Is there
  185  money left over after meeting your monthly obligations? If so,
  186  how much of the leftover money can be used for your goals? If
  187  you follow the budget you set up, how long will it take you to
  188  reach your goals?
  189         5.Compare your actual costs to the costs you budgeted. Was
  190  your budget realistic?
  191         6.Review and revise your budget. Stay on track toward
  192  meeting your joint financial goals.
  193         7.Decide who will work, who will provide childcare, and
  194  who will obtain further formal education.
  195         8.How much insurance will be necessary?
  197  It is important to make your budget realistic and flexible.
  198  Major categories of expenses are: rent or mortgage payment;
  199  utilities; food and household goods; clothing; healthcare;
  200  insurance premiums; tuition, charitable donations;
  201  transportation; household maintenance; credit card debt; hobbies
  202  and entertainment; vacation and holiday savings; and other
  203  expenses, such as cosmetics, hair care, veterinary fees (if you
  204  have pets), gifts, plants, and artwork.
  206  Certain budget items are fundamental expenditures or
  207  “absolutes,” such as housing, food, and transportation. Other
  208  budget items are less important. Other budget items are
  209  “discretionary expenditures,” such as hobbies, vacations, gifts,
  210  and artwork are a lower priority than housing and food.
  211  Prioritize your budget items, starting with “absolutes.”
  213  Involve your spouse in major budget decisions. Talk together
  214  about the mutual benefit and impact of your budget decisions.
  215  For example, what should you do if one of you wants a new
  216  computer while the other wants new carpet, and there is money
  217  for only one of the two items?
  219  Which of the purchases is most needed and beneficial to both of
  220  you? What is the impact on the quality of your life together if
  221  you buy the computer? The carpeting? Set your purchasing
  222  priorities together. Be a team working towards your shared
  223  financial goals.
  225  Raising a Family
  227  Deciding to start a family is a BIG decision! The change you
  228  experienced when your household became two triples with the
  229  addition of a child! Children bring great joy, sleepless nights,
  230  and new roles and responsibilities for both of you.
  232  Parenthood is a lifetime commitment. It requires emotional
  233  maturity from both partners. Raising children can be the most
  234  satisfying experience when both of you are ready to make this
  235  unselfish commitment.
  237  Taking Responsibility for Raising Children
  239  The decision to have children needs to be mutual. Children bring
  240  an enormous change to your relationship with each other. Some of
  241  the spontaneity that you once had as a couple may change.
  242  Fatigue from early childcare demands and feelings of uncertainty
  243  in your new roles can cause temporary marital stress. Career and
  244  childcare decisions, economic implications and new financial
  245  demands, and new housing requirements will need to be discussed.
  246  But the joys of parenthood outweigh the tensions of change.
  248  Raising a child is a team effort and requires both partners to
  249  be active participants. You are bringing into the world a new
  250  human being who will require your full support physically,
  251  emotionally, socially, instructionally, and economically. Both
  252  of you are responsible for your child’s care. This mutual
  253  responsibility for the care of your child or children never
  254  ends. When you agreed to have a child, you signed on for life.
  256  Coping with Family Challenges
  258  Sometimes raising children can be very difficult. You may find
  259  that you need help. Some children have problems making friends,
  260  getting along in school, and staying out of trouble with the
  261  law. Family counseling can strengthen families by providing a
  262  safe place to explore issues and resolve problems.
  264  Walking Rocky Roads
  266  If sad times start to outweigh happy times with your spouse, you
  267  are walking a lonely, rocky road in your marriage. Examine your
  268  own life, your spouse’s life, and your relationship with each
  269  other. If you and your spouse can renew your love and commitment
  270  to each other, together you can remove the obstructions in your
  271  marriage. Professional counselors and/or members of the clergy
  272  may help you remove some of the boulders in your marriage path.
  273  Depending on the type of problems you encounter, you may find
  274  specific support groups and counseling classes to help you. Also
  275  refer to the phone book or online directories for listings of
  276  counselors, support groups, religious organizations, and other
  277  community resources.
  279  Conclusion
  281  This free handbook is one way that the State of Florida is
  282  showing its support of your decision to marry. The information
  283  has been intended to be a basic roadmap to guide you. The State
  284  of Florida hopes that you have a happy and healthy marriage!
  286  Again, congratulations!
  288         (3)The clerk of the circuit court shall post an electronic
  289  copy of the handbook on its website. Additionally, if printed
  290  copies of the handbook are made available to the office of the
  291  clerk of the circuit court, the clerk shall make the handbook
  292  available to marriage license applicants. The clerk of the
  293  circuit court is encouraged to provide a list of course
  294  providers and sites where marriage and relationship skill
  295  building classes are available.
  296         Section 2. Paragraph (b) of subsection (4) of section
  297  741.04, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  298         741.04 Issuance of marriage license.—
  299         (4) A county court judge or clerk of the circuit court may
  300  not issue a license for the marriage of any person unless the
  301  county court judge or clerk of the circuit court is first
  302  presented with both of the following:
  303         (b) A written statement that verifies that both parties
  304  have obtained and read or otherwise accessed the information
  305  contained in the handbooks handbook or other electronic media
  306  presentation of the rights and responsibilities of parties to a
  307  marriage specified in ss. 741.0306 and 741.0307 s. 741.0306.
  308         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.
  310  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  311  And the title is amended as follows:
  312         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  313  and insert:
  314                        A bill to be entitled                      
  315         An act relating to the Florida Healthy Marriage
  316         Handbook; creating s. 741.0307, F.S.; creating the
  317         Florida Healthy Marriage Handbook; providing
  318         requirements for the handbook; providing for
  319         distribution of printed copies of the handbook under
  320         certain circumstances; requiring clerks of the circuit
  321         court to post electronic copies of the handbook on its
  322         website and make the handbook available to certain
  323         applicants; encouraging clerks of the circuit court to
  324         provide a list of course providers and websites where
  325         certain classes are available; amending s. 741.04,
  326         F.S.; prohibiting the issuance of a marriage license
  327         until petitioners verify that both parties have
  328         obtained and read the Florida Healthy Marriage
  329         Handbook or some other presentation of similar
  330         information; providing an effective date.